Skip to main content

My 2013 Osprey daypack

;ljna;orig;orij;on. frg;ojn;sfoj ;on;oino;dfj

My 2013 Osprey daypack

design, modifications & usage

Table of Contents

quick links to this daypack features, modifications & usage post

1) General: features & modifications

    Find/Choose the ideal daypack:

       a) IMO, no daypack is perfect.

       b) Beware manufacturer's hype.

       c) Research/Purchase Strategy.

2) Daypack Key Functions:

       a) Comfort.

       b) Security:  2 Security Goals:

          NOTE: Luggage Theft Risks.

          My Security Strategy.     

        c) Quality materials: fabric, etc.

        d) Multi-functional.

        e) Multi-day capability.

3) Exterior features & modifications

        a) Front: Compartments, etc.

        b) Sides: water bottles

        c) Rear: harneses, etc


... my ideal daypack’s features & modifications

Purpose of this blog is to give you the most important daypack features & modifications I evolved over 34 years so you can wisely choose your daypack for your next 20 years at home and abroad.

After 34 yrs of hiking, backpacking & foreign travel with my old daypack, that experience, prompted the 2013 purchase of a NEW daypack for my 2014,  600 mile Camino de Santiago trek from Pied de Pont, France across northern Spain to the Pacific Ocean & south. 

Osprey Packs "Escapist 30 Backpack Sports (Bike)” (BOT: 6/17/13, hiked Camino de Santiago in late Aug, 2014.) 

Note: I am not pumping Osprey for profit, but rather because I relied on it for 600 miles across northern Spain’s Camino de Santiago trek and all of my foreign travel after that. I have no idea what its quality or features are like today.

Historically, an authentic Camino de Santiago experience IMO requires you ...

    1) to walk unaided the entire route to Santiago de Compostela’s main square (Praza do Oradorio) and step on Camino’s embedded bronze plaque in front of the cathedral, and 

    2) to carry what you need on your back. 

While you will sleep & eat in various monasteries, nunneries & auberges, what you carry 6-8 hrs/day must anticipate weather changes, steep hills, blisters, your necessities, clothing changes, etc.

Yes, there are easier & faster means, but, IMO, less authentic: bikes, some public transportation, main luggage sent ahead each night and the “last 100km qualifies for Certificate” (height of deceit, IMO).

So, I will discuss ‘other’ manufacturers' daypack features only as they help me illustrate my Osprey daypack’s features and modifications. I leave it to you to research the multitude of available daypacks for that one that matches your usage needs.

Usage can include day hikes, cruising & bus touring &/or foreign SIT Travel including OVN & day trips, or a mix of all, BUT, please, be flexible.

Don’t commit to just one usage because you will hopefully expand your future's horizons.  

My Osprey daypack served all roles equally well. A day hike’s rain gear & snacks, 2)  (OVN) overnight trips with bare only essentials for 2-3 days, and 3) long-distance airline/train/bus trips for what you want at your seat. 

Caveat: you may overload airline’s carry-on daypack to avoid checked baggage weight limits. 

II. Find Ideal Daypak

A. IMO, no daypack is ideal

Today (4/18/23) I did a quick Google search for “daypacks for travel & hiking.” The price range was $35 > $300. Descriptions ranged from specious puffery to sober bomb-proof hard shells of plastic or aluminum. Digesting the entire range of daypack offerings & their features would be exhausting.

I cut to the chase when I discovered Michael Lanza’s post "THE 10 BEST HIKING DAYPACKS OF 2023” based on his years of professional testing & usage. Definitely worth your close read

B. Beware mfg. hype:

Over my 40+ years of hiking, backpacking, and travel I have noticed that often new or resurrecting sporting goods manufacturers (skis, boots, daypacks clothing, etc) initially produced a very high quality, functional product in order to establish their “excellence, highly functional” reputation. 

Then, begin a steady cost-saving, dubious feature elimination & changes, a price-point decline in useful features, and increased specious boasting of unverifiable proprietary techy fabrics & materials while continually increasing prices. 

Ironically, even quality manufacturers often failed to disclose esoteric, but useful little features I discovered on my own. Curious marketing.

C. 3-part research & purchase strategy.

A daypack’s usefulness, regardless of price, is dependent on 1) your well-thought-out need(s) list &

2) a daypack’s variety of useful features that fulfill those needs.


1. Review & Compare websites:

Search the internet’s product Review & Comparison websites, manufacturer’s sites, and “daypacks” sites for your background knowledge of variety & usefulness of features.

But remember each may have a biased ‘hidden incentive agenda’ e.g.: websites often financially benefit from the advertising revenue of company whose products they review.

However & again, ....  see Michael Lanza's post above.

2. “specialty use” paks:

Search “specialty use” daypacks for ‘serious’ long-distance runners & bikers, mountain climbers;  respected brand names (Osprey, CamelBak & OMM & Patagonia & others) trying very hard to satisfy discriminating dedicated athletes. 



3. Visit daypak sellers

Visit REI or other major daypack sellers for YOUR ‘hands-on’ experience.

Remember small sporting goods departments or stores, in particular, may carry a specific brand because 1) it differentiates them from their competitor's brands and 2) it may offer retailer a higher profit,  but NOT necessarily offer you the best quality, features & price.

        PRICE: If you are serious (you're reading this), buy what fills your needs.    Divide daypack price by your years of future use; it is not an intimidating big expense.    (EX: $200 / 20 yr = $10/ yr)

III. Ideal Features:

A. Comfort: 

Most daypacks will be comfortable for short periods, moderate loads & tasks, but should be VERY comfortable for arduous day hikes, multi-day use & foreign travel.

In my 2015 daypack critique to Osprey company after my 2014, 600-mile Camino de Santiago trek,  I wrote: 

“….(daypack) seems excellent, never felt like sweat was accumulating although it must have, seldom even felt the back [of daypack ] or its weight until after 4-6 hours continuous hard walking and that could very well be my body’s age reacting.”

B. Daypak's Security: 

        Two Security Goals:

1. Lock all pockets.

There are ‘anti-theft’  designed backpacks* & perhaps daypacks AND  specific security devices like Pacsafe’s metal mesh bag that completely envelops your bag, locks & I assume could be secured to an immovable object.

Some modern bags have integrated locks which I have had NO experience with. Please research as needed.

* Travel & Leisure’s “The 6 Best Anti-theft Backpacks of 2023, Tested and Reviewed:”

2. fix to pipes or bed.

Unlike the skilled safecracker’s ability to steal a safe’s diamonds without moving the heavy safe itself, a thief can easily snatch your daypack from a bus/train overhead or open hostel room and be long gone before you will notice or could react.

Ability to attach daypack to an immovable object ( water pipe, bed, etc.) lets you snooze more easily.


Stolen Daypack/Main Luggage Consequences:

Special Daypack & Suitcase Money security discussion:

Three primary safety fears: 

a) Stolen or lost passport:

If someone steals your US passport you can neither leave host country nor enter US. You are a person without a country, trapped in limbo, until you can reach a US Embassy for a new one. I have seen it happen. PIK

If not in your hotel room or safe, your passport should be in a money/passport pouch strapped around your waist under your trousers. NEVER in your luggage or daypack. Never!  .... AND, always carry a copy with you.

b) Stolen US money:

Perhaps erroneously, I've always believed that I could solve most travel calamities, if I had enough US money to go on: e.g. lodging, transportation etc.

So, I hid < $5000 US in daypack and in rolling luggage and $1000 in money belt. So, worst case if both daypak & rolling luggage were stolen I would still have $1000 US and my passport under my PIK trousers. If only one piece of luggage was stolen, I would have  $6000.

c) Lost or stolen rolling backpack.

When train, bus, taxi, or tuk tuk traveling, my daypack was either on my back or when seated … in my hand while my rolling luggage might be stored elsewhere.

So, if for any reason I was separated from my rolling luggage, my daypack always contained what I needed to survive: clothes change, prescript drugs, US money, etc.

I always politely refused to be separated from my daypack's immediate control.

3. My daypack security cables:  

Zipper Pulls, cable & TSA lock  

If you look closely at the image below you'll see 4 things, 

    1) airline cables snaking through the stainless steel rings attached to zipper pulls.

    2) a TSA-approved cable lock.

    3) cable wrapping around black table leg.

    4) my preferred zipper pulls.


I made several security cables of thin airline cables with end-loops.

I removed original fabric daypack zipper pulls & replaced them with small stainless steel ring on each zipper pull.

These small stainless steel rings also allowed attachment of tiny flashlights, a compass, etc to any convenient zipper pull. Tiny flashlights were particularly useful on dark early morning Camino de Santiago starts.

The rings were exactly large enough to allow my airline cable loops to be snaked thru ALL the compartment stainless steel rings installed on ALL zipper pull rings & then locked with a small TSA-approved combination lock. Some Ace Hardware stores carry cable, fittings & TSA locks. 

Later I also installed, IMO, superior cord zipper pulls.

These different length cables not only secured daypack's compartments, but could simultaneously be wrapped around a hostel’s desk, bed frame or plumbing AND my Pinyao to Xi’an Chinese night train’s overhead luggage rack making it that much more difficult to steal.

NOTES: 1) TSA can open TSA locks while others may not be able to.

One such cable & lock assembly was always coiled & secured to a zipper pull ring for quick use.

   2) Ace Hardware had: airline cable,.its fittings &  TSA locks





C. Quality:

        ......... of fabric materials & hardware (zippers & pulls, straps).

1. Fabric quality:  

Fabric quality should endure harsh conditions & long use. My rolling bag’s fabric was quality, IMO, when I bought it 25 years ago. 

It has been dragged thru “Hell and Gone” literally, Europe’s cobblestone old town streets, South America & Asia’s dirt roads; thru Atacama’s dry desert heat, Venice & Xi’an’s constant rain and Jackson Hole, Wyoming’s snows. 

Yes, it wore thru in several places, seams tore out and wheels got wobbly, but luggage repair shop repaired it  … adding to its “poor, no valuable contents inside’ mystic. 

I have NEVER repaired my daypack.

CAUTION: IMO, beware of dubious proprietary fabric technology claims designed to disguise ordinary functionality. Remember, I used my Osprey bag daily for months on end for 10 years,. It could go 10 more.

2) Hardware Quality:

Hardware is anything NOT fabric ...  like: daypack’s internal plastic back infrastructure, webbing, and plastic buckles.
I assume plastic materials are robust, webbing is usually near bomb-proof and buckles, etc may have different designs, but I never had one break.

That said, be sure to actually test the 'ease-of-use' of differently designed buckles with your eyes closed … like in a dark Camino de Santiago nunnery’s dorm room at 5:30 am.

The spade design was easy to open/close while the 2 prong male design was NOT, IMO, because difficult to get both prongs inserted simultaneously. 

D. Multi-functional: 

IMO, specialty daypacks for serious’ long-distance runners & bikers, & mountain climbers are perhaps the most versatile & functional daypacks. While you may never use some features, others provide unique functionalities. 

Look for a Swiss Army Knife-like feature set: 

  1) variable sizes, locations of & adjustable compartments & pockets,

  2) adjustable shoulder, waist & top-of-bag garment straps, 

  3) attachment points, 

  4) waterproof capabilities.

  5) Specialty Functions: allow for clothes layering strategy, hidden $ pouch, secure cell phone pocket, attachment points for compass, emergency whistle, & trekking Poles

 6) and, of course, use your own imagination to modify.

E. Multi-day use capability:

I often established a base city on multi-month travels and then made multi-OVN (overnight) trips to outlying sites.

Rather than haul my rolling luggage and a daypack, I stored rolling luggage in hostel’s secure luggage storage room and took ONLY my daypack.

... with just my daypack

ANECDOTE: 5 day OVN (overnight) loop from Bucharest

... with just my daypack

In Bucharest, Romania, for several days I made a 5-day loop north thru Siaia, Brasov, Sighisoara, Sibiu & back to Bucharest with a daypack only.

    1) Normal daypack inventory list [pplk: Resources: Trave Docs]

    2) OVN daypack inventory [pplk: Resources: Trave Docs]




III.Exterior daypak features

A. Front: Pockets:

                  Front: top > bottom

1. Thin wide pocket:

          1st at top at very back (without zipper). hand-loop

            USE: Not sure if this pocket intended as pocket, but iPad, Mac Air, Emergency toilet kit slide down so NOT SEEN.  [ytlk: emergency toilet], [pplk; Resources: Travel Docs]  to come.]


Small narrow black loop (at right) is sewn at daypack’s very back at top to allow mfgr’s small gray web loop with buckle to pass thru it & to prevent: 

   a) pocket from gaping open

   b) MacAir from falling out inadvertently. 

2. Small > Medium waterproof pouch:

                       2nd from top; zippered (see above image)

            USE: Designed to rain-protected important documents AND anything I wanted very quick access to: TP, train ticket, pain meds, Wet Ones, Ear plugs, reading glasses, sunscreen, SDXC cards,

3. Large Upper Pocket:

                      3rd from top; zippered [PIK]

            USE: Loose storage 

While this pocket can be combined with the Lower Medium Pocket (see below) with a zippered floor, I normally valued the organizational value of 2 separate pockets. 

          a) My Normal USE: (floor zipped close) SEE [LINK. ] Daypack Inventory & Daypack OVN (overnight) Inventory lists. [PIK] zipped

          b. SUPER Pocket: Unzipp floor, and a super compartment created

          c. Possible Use: A large fluffy parka.              

Right image above depicts a tripod case resting on zippered floor, while left image depicts a tripod case passing thru zippered floor to rest on bottom of the lower compartment thus --  a super pocket.


A flat pocket with velcro closure was sewn onto the zippered floor between Large Upper Pocket AND Lower Medium Pocket for hiding < $5000 in US 100’s. 

NOTE: An ICE Special Investigator inspecting all my luggage never discover money even tho I told him I had that money in the bag. 

I am not bragging, just illustrating how well it was hidden for security.

4. Middle medium, multi-pocket Compartment:

                     4th from top; zippered. [PIK]

            USE: Loose storage & small items

This compartment is superbly designed for quick access to a multitude of small items organized in separate pockets.

          Inventory of features:

a. Dimensions

overall compartment’s dimensions: ~10” deep x 10½” wide 

b. 3 smaller pockets

Also, there are 3 smaller pockets attached along the compartment’s back ~ 4” below the top of the compartment. 

These pockets are from L>R:    3" wide fabric, 4” wide mesh & 3” wide fabric pockets; beautifully designed to carry quickly accessible small items like a spoon, and prescription & pain drugs.   

c. Attachment fitting

Centered between & above the left & middle pocket is another attachment with safety attachment fitting that I used to attach a Swiss Army knife that I have carried for more than 42 years 

It is such clever features that define the bag's quality, IMO

5. Mesh pocket - on front: 

                large black mesh on outside of daypack

            USE: Not sure of Mfgr’s intent, but ideal on CdeS, to dry wet socks from last night’s wash.

Image at right: Pocket is a large black area with white paper inside.

6. Lower Small - Medium Pocket:

                                 6th from top; zippered

             USE: Loose storage 

         Can also UNzip pocket floor to combine with compartment above creating a 'super pocket'

7. Tiny Bottom Pocket:

                       7th from top; zippered (almost hidden)

          USE: Contains bag’s built-in rain cover.


NOTE: Good example of …. small, but very useful quality feature. 


B. Sides:  right & left

 1. Mesh water bottle pockets

            PURPOSE: to securely hold various-sized water bottles with compression straps. Unfortunately, the manufacturer’s design for that bag did not work, but was rather inherently, dangerously useless. 

Useless because bottles of any size fell out during my pre-Camino de Santiago test hikes. Dangerous because, if unnoticed, loss of water bottles across arid, uninhabited areas of Spain's Caminio de Santiago could accelerate my dehydration & its bad consequences.


a. Black Stretch Webbing:

Added 2' wide black stretch webbing loop (middle-top) above original mesh pocket to tightly secure upper part of bottle to prevent bottle from squishing out of mesh pocket which it originally did.   Worked.

b. Small cord loop for lanyard attachment

Added 1½“ paracord 'attachment loop' for water bottle lanyard, if necessary, above each right & left side water bottle. Paranoid? Yes

c. Short diagonal compression strap

 A 'short compression strap is depicted attached to gray snap fitting (towards top) which allows BAG's contents to be further compressed so stuff does move around inside bag.  

Again, another small Osprey quality feature. 

C. Rear features:

                       Top > bottom

1. Center strap loop

 ......for hand-carrying bag or hanging on a hook :         

               See "1. Wide Thin Pocket image" above.   hand-loop

2. Adjustable Top Mounted Straps: 

           PURPOSE: To quickly access & secure various combinations of garments (jackets, vests, rain gear AND  trekking poles.

Image at left depicts the left-hand loop of the two such loops with adjustable lock fittings that held varying numbers of jackets/vest etc. securely.

            NOTE: I designed specifically for Camino de Santiago to carry several layering  & rain protection garments & trekking poles to cope with significant daily temperature changes from early morning dark to mid-afternoon heat.

Also, as I climbed onto the colder, higher western plateau in October,   (2,165 feet (660 metres).,.... at least I either wore or carried vest, jacket, and rain gear under these straps.

3. Adjustable Shoulder straps & harness:  

      .....  with: 


  a.  adjustable chest strap & strap lock (right side of strap seen on bottom left side of closest shoulder strap in image.

   b) small zipper pouch on wide waist belt (barely at middle right)


4. Thick waist belt:

Adjustable ... with buckle & small zippered pouch on each side of belt.




Join my mailing list to get new content notifications.

* indicates required

Intuit Mailchimp